Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
May 20, 2008
CHAIRMAN HASTINGS CONCERNED OVER THE SHUTDOWN OF RFE/RL’S NEWSLINE PUBLICATION
Sends Letter to RFE/RL President Gedmin Urging Decision to be Reversed
(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), sent the following letter to Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin, President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). The letter outlines Chairman Hastings’ concern over the shutdown of the research and analysis division of RFE/RL. In particular, the letter notes the May 9 demise of RFE/RL’s flagship publication, “Newsline.”
In February, Chairman Hastings visited RFE/RL headquarters in Prague. Chairman Hastings plans to consult with colleagues in Congress to get the decision reversed. (Please find below a copy of the letter)
May 20, 2008
Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
1201 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Dr. Gedmin:
I was dismayed to learn that you have decided to shut down the research and analysis division of RFE/RL. May 9 marked the demise of RFE/RL’s flagship publication, “Newsline.”
Obviously, broadcasting is a critical priority of the radios, but for the Washington policymaking community, “Newsline” and other analytical products of RFE/RL are no less essential. For many Members of Congress and their staff, “Newsline” is the best way to remain informed about events and trends in the former Soviet bloc. I need hardly remind you, with rumors of possible military action between Russia and Georgia and the recent passage in the House of Representatives of a resolution expressing support for Georgia, how unpredictable that part of the world remains. The loss of “Newsline” and its sister publications would considerably complicate our task of keeping up to date with fast-changing developments there and responding legislatively.
Considering that Senator Cardin and I were so recently in Prague to see the RFE/RL operation, we should certainly have received advance notice of your intention. I am very disappointed that you saw fit to eliminate the RFE/RL products most familiar and important to Congress, which funds the entire RFE/RL operation.
I urge you to reverse this decision. For my part, I intend to consult with my colleagues about the closure of RFE/RL’s research and analysis division. You should expect to hear from me in the near future.
Alcee L. Hastings, M.C.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.
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